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“This year, our last two items are very special ones. They were among the prizes generously gifted by an esteemed guest of the Sun Cultivation Alliance, who expressly requested them to be auctioned. You must understand that in normal circumstances, these items wouldn’t even be sold.”

All the spectator’s attention was immediately grabbed by this shocking revelation. This claim from the Night Lotus Auction House was most likely true, it had a great reputation to uphold for its business after all.

“Our first of the two exceptional items, is named the Black Talent Pill and its value is impossible to estimate. The pill making process involves invaluable materials that don’t even exist on our continent and others that only appear in legends. When eating this pill, a cultivator has an 80% chance of death. However, those that survive will emerge with a grade 5 talent, no matter what their original talent was. No ways have been found to determine which cultivators have different odds of survival, except for age: this pill can only be consumed strictly under the age of 14 or death is assured. This ‘14’ figure isn’t exact for all and it is recommended to not consume the pill if you are older than 12 just for insurance. Oh, and this pill must be consumed before reaching the foundation establishment stage.

To the young 2nd years with inferior grades, you should have already experienced the frustration of your limitations due to talent but some might hesitate when faced with the deadly odds. Let me tell you, most of the older cultivators would fight to the death just to catch a glimpse of this pill. Having a top talent makes you enter a whole other world. Why do we cultivate? To reach the apex! To become immortal! But most will inevitably be blocked by their insufficient talent. This pill is your ticket to immortality and 20% odds is huge in that regard.

If it wasn’t for the extreme rarity of the materials in its recipe, this pill would have changed the whole cultivation world.”

The crowd went wild with Hou Xifeng's impassioned and exalted speech.

 

In the private room, Wang Yimo threw a worried look to Han Lingyun who was examining the Black Talent Pill’s projection with deep interest. Sensing the gaze, Han Lingyun raised his head and said reassuringly. “Haha don’t worry miss Yimo, I’m not interested in consuming that pill, I’m too scared of death for that. And I’m already doing really fine in cultivation.”

She took a reproachful air and responded. “Hum you had me concerned for a moment, you looked transfixed on this pill just now.”

Han Lingyun was indeed amazed by the pill, but not because he wanted it for himself. He wondered if it worked like some kind of spiritual transplant, with the odds of death due to the receiver’s spirit rejecting the transplant in a way. The fact that the effect was the same regardless of one’s original spirit root was definitely an argument going in this direction.

But these were simply his conjectures and his imagination running wild once again. Han Lingyun had no way of verifying his ideas. “Don’t you find it fascinating? This Black Talent pill’s effect is so groundbreaking!”

Wang Yimo looked unconvinced. “Having a grade 5 talent doesn’t make you an immortal or whatever this auctioneer vixen is spouting.”

Han Lingyun raised an eyebrow. “I think you don’t realize how desperate people with lower talent grades are for a chance to increase theirs. Imagine slowly falling behind and feeling your dreams and aspirations get further away as time passes.”

 

While the two kept debating, the auction had already started at the symbolic price of 1 crystal. In three breaths worth of time, the price had reached 5 million crystals. This time, it wasn’t the disciples using their elder’s money to bid, but entire sects trying to secure a pill. Even the top 16 sects didn’t have a 5th grade disciple every year! This pill had the possibility to change the destiny of a smaller sect if they birthed a grade 5 talent, granting it a seat at the council among other things.

It was still a big gamble with only 20% odds though but some sect leaders in the cabins were determined to risk investing a significant portion of their sect’s wealth for it.

Hou Xifeng made sure everyone was hooked on the bidding war as a constant flow of words kept gushing from her mouth. “10 million, the price has reached 10 million crystals for this inestimable pill. You won’t find a second one on the whole continent, this is your chance to become a 5th grade or to groom such a prodigy. Do we have a 11 million? Yes 11 million! Now 13 million, the bets haven’t slowed down yet! 15 million!”

The incredible price kept rising until 32 million crystals. It was more a case of how much crystals those Elders had available straight away rather than how much they were willing to pay. It was highly likely that the top 16 sects were bidding as well. This pill wouldn’t change their destiny but it was a decent investment nevertheless.

Just as the pill was about to be sold, another 35 million bid was announced. This time, it was enough to win the pill.

 

Han Lingyun made a joking remark to Wang Yimo. “If a 20% chance of a 5th grade talent is worth 35 million crystals, you should be worth 175 million crystals. Congratulations.”

Wang Yimo choked on her breath and laughed. “Why do I feel both complimented and insulted at the same time?”

 

Now everyone was burning to discover the last item. The audience was holding its breath: what could possibly be placed after this pill?

“Our final item was also gifted by our guest as I mentioned before.”

Even before the item was displayed, a faint pressure enveloped the stage as an elongated chest was brought. Hou Xifeng opened it delicately to reveal a magnificent pitch-black long sword.

Gasps were heard through the crowd at the sight. That sword, it had a strange presence, this pressure a powerful cultivator could release if he wished to. The sword was sheathed and the sensation disappeared completely. Apart from its mesmerizing blackness, the sword felt like a normal weapon again.

“As you have all noticed, this isn’t your regular sword. This sword at the top of qi condensation was once the favorite weapon of a Nascent Soul cultivator when he was a young cultivator! Due to his attachment to this sword, once the cultivator reached the nascent soul realm, he imparted his weapon that had lost its use with a part of his comprehension to honor it.”

This statement left a heavy silence on the stadium. Only heated breaths could be heard. Even the Elders stared unblinkingly as they wished they could acquire the sword for themselves. Then the silence was suddenly broken; the crowd went wild and some even tried to go on stage to get a closer look at the weapon but barrier formations prevented it.

 

“I’ll ask the audience to calm down for the auction of this exceptional weapon to proceed smoothly.

The sword was named Deep Abyss by its previous wielder. Using it will permeate the cultivator with the comprehension from the Nascent Soul expert. I must issue a warning to Sword cultivators as this may cause a backlash if your way with the sword differs too much with the previous user’s philosophy. However, it is safe to say that using this weapon at a young age should increase one’s chance of reaching the Nascent Soul Realm one day.”

 

For the sects, on the short term this item was perhaps less valuable than the Black Talent Pill but it was better suited for a public of second years and for the ‘bouquet final’ of the night, the grand finale.

The price ended at 14 million crystals. It was less than the pill but this figure was still probably higher than most of the sect’s present entire net worth.

However, the price didn’t overtake the pill for some important reasons. Most importantly, the whole idea of increasing the odds of reaching the Nascent Soul realm was a gross exaggeration, if not plainly wrong. If this was truly the case, a Nascent Soul expert could form many others new Nascent Soul cultivators just by teaching, which is obviously not the case.

However, Deep Abyss was definitely a supreme weapon at the qi condensation level and it would definitely bring a huge advantage to anyone using it at the competition.

The auction ended on that note and the disciples slowly left the auction house. Han Lingyun and Wang Yimo’s balance in their crystal cards had already been updated after their purchases. In the end, Han Lingyun was walking out with a bottle of Night Lotus Condensation Dew, a mysterious jade, and an entertaining experience. All for 480 thousand crystals out of the original million.

Han Lingyun was giving Elder Wen feedback as he returned the card to his original owner.

“Oh, just keep that card for your expenses whenever you leave the sect. No one else would target you for it anyway as a robbed card from the SCA will not activate. Hum, you got a reasonable deal for that Dew. But what I’m really interested in is that mysterious jade. It isn’t your style to buy any random intriguing item, am I wrong disciple Lingyun?”

Han Lingyun took out the jade to show Elder Wen. “I hope you are not wrong teacher, or I would feel deeply ashamed.”

Elder Wen frown as he looked closer at the crisscrossing lines. He closed his eyes as his hand traced the lines. He appeared deeply focused. Elder Wen’s verdict came after a couple of minutes.

“I am unable to give you a satisfactory answer, my disciple. However, this jade certainly deserves a more thorogh study. It feels surprising to auction it at the 2nd years auction event, and with the random items of the mysterious category. I am convinced that many of my colleagues would love to analyze this jade.”

“Did you understand something from the lines?”

“Unfortunately, no, but my calculations and analysis of recuring patterns seems to indicate that it isn’t just some gibberish. It could be a code or some form of lock. Even if it’s a hoax of some sort its creator shouldn’t be at a low level. I commend your eye for taking the risk of bidding on it. Obviously, the experts of the Auction House couldn’t have missed something I can suppose. So, I am confused. Was this jade being auctioned due to a series of errors? Or perhaps, my conjectures are wrong or the experts analyzing it found something making the object worthless?”

Han Lingyun was reassured after hearing Elder Wen’s words. His teacher wasn’t angry at his unorthodox purchase. In fact, Han Lingyun himself didn’t know if this jade was just some trash. If not for the feeling he recognized, he wouldn’t have bought this jade. “Yes, the lines really piqued my interest and this jade gave me a peculiar feeling. I followed my intuition on this one.”

Elder Wen stroked his beard and put the jade back in Han Lingyun’s hands. “Hum, the money on the card is yours anyway, so spend it as you please. It’s your responsibility to make the right choices.”

Han Lingyun nodded heavily. He implicitly understood that Elder Wen still didn’t really approve of using 300 thousand crystals on that stone.

“Very good. Disciple Lingyun, for the rest of the week you should cultivate away from all the noise to arrive at the competition in the best of shapes. Use that opportunity to drink some of that Lotus Dew after absorbing the effects of a pill.”

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